We’ve been good boys and girls this year – hopefully Santa will hook us up on Christmas with the following happening next year.

Merry Christmas, Esports.gg faithful! It’s been a heckuva year. It’s time to put our feet up, be thankful for what we have, and maybe sneak a few wishes off to Santa before the new year.

In that spirit, here are a few things we’d love to see under the tree this morning. We’ve been good boys and girls, we promise. Mostly. Okay maybe we griefed that guy feeding in bot lane a little harder than we should’ve, but he deserved it, we promise!

Anyway. Here’s some stuff that we hope the esports gods and scriptwriters will bless us with in 2022.

All I want for Christmas is a return to live crowds!

While we know it’s far from the control of any organizer, esports events without crowds take away much of the hype. There’s something really eerie about watching an esports event, seeing an epic popoff, without crowds there to feed into that energy.

It’s just too damn quiet. And not to discount the efforts of both players and commentators to fill that void, bless their hearts. They are doing the best they can, but nothing will ever replace 10,000 screaming fans. The energy, the sense of wonder on everyone’s face as they watch their heroes go to town and win millions (gosh, we’re in the billions now, aren’t we?) of dollars.

COVID-19 and omicron permitting, here’s hoping we can all get back to some sense of normalcy in 2022. Signs have been mixed so far, but there have been events with live audiences that have gone off without a hitch, like Red Bull Kumite and others.

Chestnuts roasting on Overwatch 2 fire

Talk about a long shot. Activision Blizzard announced Overwatch 2 back in 2019, and while we’ve certainly heard a fair bit about the game, it’s been hit with delay after delay. The Overwatch League is switching to the game for competition next year but the public has no idea when they’ll get their hands on the game.

This creates a number of problems, most notably that there will now be a massive disconnect between what people can play on retail, and what pros are playing. Not only does this cause an aspirational problem, it could also lead to viewership issues. Overwatch is already a game that requires a lot of knowledge to understand, and it’s going to cause strain on the broadcast team to make sure that viewers understand how all of the new maps and modes work.

All of this adds up to Blizzard desperately needing to rectify this situation and letting fans know when they’ll get their hands on the game.

COVID travel protocols loosening

POTSDAM, GERMANY - DECEMBER 7: Jayvee "DubsteP" Paguirigan of team Vikings arrives at the VALORANT Champions Groups Stage on December 7, 2021 in Potsdam, Germany. (Photo by Lance Skundrich/Riot Games)
POTSDAM, GERMANY - DECEMBER 7: Jayvee "DubsteP" Paguirigan of team Vikings arrives at the VALORANT Champions Groups Stage on December 7, 2021 in Potsdam, Germany. (Photo by Lance Skundrich/Riot Games)

If there was one thing that defined the past two years, it was teams having to miss out on events due to travel visa issues. It happened to teams from all stripes, from League of Legends, to CS:GO, to Valorant. Not only that, once players did get to events, they had to remain shut up in their rooms for a majority of the time. It was to the point where many players didn’t even want to be at Valorant Champions. Hell, I couldn’t even go on Christmas holiday without having some complications traveling internationally.

This is a situation far beyond the scope and control of esports. But here’s hoping that either the COVID pandemic is in a situation where things can get back to normal, or medical experts end up agreeing on a better way to handle travel during the pandemic, should it continue.

More ways for viewers to interact with esports broadcasts

Something that’s been severely lacking in esports is the abilitiy for esports fans to truly interact with broadcasts at home. While Twitch has made some great strides with their prediction system that allows fans to earn channel points while watching, there hasn’t been much in the way of innovation in terms of statistics while watching, fantasy, or anything else built into the broadcast itself.

Sites that solve these problems, such as Juked.gg, do exist - but it would be nice to see platforms like YouTube and Twitch further work to solve these issues.

It might be cool for Twitch to, for example, use their channel point systems to offer in-game loot or physical merchandise for watching large esports events, like Worlds or TI, as opposed to just offering chat commands.

Esports jingles all the way

While Riot has long been the musical virtuoso of the esports world, working with artists such as Imagine Dragons, to produce songs for their large-scale events, other developers have shied away from doing so. Imagine how epic TI would be if it had its own musical score beyond stock orchestral music?

Indeed, more teams should lean into the trend as well. While some have begun to embrace this to mixed success over the years, more emphasis should be put on marrying esports with the musical world. After all, this would only serve to further fan engagement, emotional attachment, and more into these events.

Where are the team anthems for entrances? Something the WWE has tied into the identity of their wrestlers is entrance music, and it serves as a part of their identity. Esports teams have a hard enough time establishing that, and could use whatever help they can get.

What's on your Christmas list for esports in the new year? Let us know on Twitter @esports and keep it locked here in the new year for all the latest on esports news in 2022.